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Building and Using the Half Bar

A shoeing alternative that provides frog support in cases such as sheared heels or partial hoof-wall avulsion

The half-bar shoe is an aptly named frog-support shoe offering unilateral frog support while increasing ground reaction forces to one-half of the hoof (Figure 1).

It differs from a Z-bar or heart bar shoe in that there is no welding necessary and it can be a made from a long-heeled keg shoe or easily forged from concave stock.

There are two distinct variations of this shoe. In one, the heels of both branches terminate at the same point (they are symmetrical). In the other, the portion of the shoe that provides frog support is set farther back caudally then the open heel portion.

Think of it this way: Half of the hoof is fit with a standard open-heeled shoe, while the other is fit with a standard bar shoe (it extends back to approximately the bulb of that heel).

Uses For The Half-Bar Shoe

This shoe is useful for a number of used and pathologies, including:

  1. Sheared heels.
  2. Partial hoof-wall avulsion.
  3. Increasing ground reaction forces to balance joint load.
  4. Spiral hoof capsule distortion.

This article will focus on its use for treating partial wall avulsions, but we’ll also touch on sheared heels.

Sheared Heels

When using any shoe to correct sheared heels, owner education is essential. Without aftercare by the owner, we cannot fix sheared heels in a realistic amount of time. A massive thrush infection caused this particular affliction, so without combating the thrush, we cannot win.

In these cases, I prefer to use a straight-bar shoe initially to…

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